What They Are Saying: Rhode Island Dem Gov Gina Raimondo Faces Criticism From Her Fellow Democrats Over Mismanagement

After numerous weeks of scandal, Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo continues to receive intense criticism from across the political spectrum. Even top leaders within her own party, including the state’s Speaker of the House, have highlighted glaring problems within the Raimondo administration due to incompetent leadership. As Raimondo faces accusations of negligence – even from fellow Democrats – her hopes of winning another term in office are facing growing challenges. Here are some highlights of recent coverage:

In response to the problems with Raimondo’s HHS Department, Democrat House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello blamed “systemic management problems” in the agency under Raimondo:

“Gov. Raimondo’s office appeared taken by surprise this week when House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello cited what he called systemic management problems in the four agencies that make up the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services. ‘I think we need to get some managers into these positions that have significant managerial skills to work on straightening out these departments,’ Mattiello told reporters this week…”

Democrat State Senator Louis DiPalma agreed with Mattiello’s assessment of Raimondo’s HHS Department, telling Rhode Island Public Radio that “senior leadership is sorely needed across human services, categorically”:

“Sen. Louis DiPalma (D-Middletown), who keeps a close eye on human-service issues, tells RIPR that Mattiello is partially correct about the level of problems within EOHHS. DiPalma said HHS has thousands of committed workers, but that staffing is too thin in some key parts of management. ‘Here’s where I agree with the speaker: additional senior leadership is sorely needed across human services, categorically,’ DiPalma said on RIPR’sPolitical Roundtable. ‘In the area of the operational, some of the area of data analysis, we have leaders that are one-deep. They’re building their teams. They need to build more around their teams to address the operational aspects of every day of running the organizations.’”

Another Democrat state legislator, Oversight Committee Chair Patricia Serpa has also criticized Raimondo’s failed leadership of the state’s HHS Department, stating that she has “come to expect the worst from that agency”:

“Rep. Patricia Serpa, a Democrat who oversees West Warwick, agreed.

‘I hate to sound negative, but I’ve come to expect the worst from that agency,’ Serpa said. “But then I keep saying to myself, ‘How much worse can it get?’ And this is huge.’”

Further complicating Raimondo’s problems, her Democrat primary challenger Matt Brown has used the scandal to offer up blistering criticism of her mismanagement, accusing her of “absenteeism” and “gross negligence”:

“Democratic challenger Matt Brown was equally critical, ‘Yesterday we learned that the state’s failure to file a ‘timely’ court appeal has opened up a budget sinkhole that could require the retroactive payment of millions of Medicaid dollars to dozens of nursing homes. The financial consequences are so potentially large they could seriously affect legislators’ plans to roll out a new state budget this coming week.

‘Raimondo’s absenteeism and gross negligence have caused enormous harm to Rhode Islanders and cost the state millions. Just two months ago in April, we learned that the state has been unable to apply for $100 million in Medicaid reimbursements because of Raimondo’s mismanagement. In May we learned that the Raimondo administration misled lawmakers about indicted call center leader Richard Noceto. Every month it’s more scandal and mismanagement,’ said Brown in a statement.”